Peggy & George

Visitor favorite Peggy the pig-tailed macaque took rides on tortoises and rode herd on unruly children like her son, George.
  • 1930s
  • 1940s

Even sunny San Diego seemed chilly to Peggy when she arrived from Sumatra. Dedicated keepers housed the tiny monkey in a sunny room with other heat-loving Zoo residents—tortoises. The tortoises’ inactivity apparently led the little pig-tailed macaque to mistake them for rocks for sitting and climbing on. However, when legs and heads emerged from the rocks and they began to move, Peggy screamed bloody murder and clung to the wire walls of her house. The tortoises, scared by the monkey’s screams, snapped up tight.

Once she figured out they were harmless, however, Peggy climbed back down and returned to her “seat.” Soon she was riding the tortoises like big, round ponies. The teasing she occasionally inflicted upon the tortoises came back to her tenfold in the form of several disobedient children. Her first son, George, harassed his baby sister; that sister tormented the next sibling, and so on. A real “hands-on” mom, Peggy didn’t hesitate to administer a smack if she had to in order to keep her brood in line.

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